Independent Music Through Different Ears – Daytrotter

If you only discover music by listening to the radio, then you’re truly missing out on some great songs and bands. The truth is that some of the best music out there isn’t popular at all, so it can take some effort to find these hidden gems. Each day, relatively unknown bands travel and play shows for small crowds, but even though the crowds are small, they’re dedicated. A site called Daytrotter helps to bring attention to these bands by inviting them to their studio, recording some of their songs, and giving visitors the tracks for free.

DaytrotterYou possibly haven’t heard of some of these amazing bands or performers (like Neutral Uke Hotel, Deep Sea Diver, Deerhoof, Jeremy Messersmith, and Zee Avi), but there are some rather popular ones who are represented at the site (such as J Mascis, Jeff Daniels [yep, the actor. He sings and plays guitar, too], Jolie Holland, Kris Kristofferson, Social Distortion, Tricky, Bob Mould, and even, as surreal as it may seem, a few familiar voices from Cartoon Network’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force). Even if you have heard some of the songs and they’re from your favorite records of all time, the Daytrotter versions are unique and raw, which makes listening to them even more enjoyable — like rediscovering some of the best music in the world all over again.

In addition to listening to the music, you’ll also be able to learn more about the bands, find out what the inspiration was for the songs, and so on. I’ve been stuck in a musical rut, so perhaps Daytrotter will break me free from it.

And now, it seems that Daytrotter’s going on tour! If you live in any of the following places (or like to drive all over creation for an earful of sweet, sweet tunes), you might want to catch Barnstormer 5, Daytrotter’s traveling hootenanny (I don’t know if the kind people at Daytrotter actually call it a hootenanny, but that’s the general idea).

  • 8/26/11 – Runnymeade Farm Barn (North Hampton, NH)
  • 8/27/11 – Sunnyview Farm Barn (Ghent, NY)
  • 8/28/11 – Old Lantern Barn (Charlotte, VT)
  • 8/29/11 – The Living Room (New York, NY)
  • 8/30/11 – Chaseland Barn (New Wilmington, PA)
  • 8/31/11 – Conrad Botzum Farmstead Barn (Akron, OH)
  • 9/01/11 – Lakeview Farms Barn (Dexter, MI)
  • 9/02/11 – Kalyx Center Barn (Monticello, IL)
  • 9/03/11 – Codfish Hollow Barn (Maquoketa, IA)

5 Features of iOS 5 That You Haven’t Heard About

Apple claims that iOS 5, its new mobile device operating system, has over 200 new features. However, in its press conference unveiling, the company really only talked about the 10 biggest ones. Things like iMessages, new Notifications, Wi-Fi Sync, and iCloud are all awesome, but there are tons of small tweaks and features added under the hood that definitely make the iOS experience better. Here are five features that will make your iOS experience better that you might not know about.

1. Custom Vibration Patterns

You’ve been able to set custom ringtones for people for a long time in iOS, but a lot of people I know have their phones on silent most of the day. In iOS 5’s Accessibility options (Settings -> Accessibility), you can turn on custom vibration patterns and then assign them per contact.

To create a vibration pattern you just tap on your phone’s screen in the pattern to which you’d like the vibrate to correspond (press = on, non-press = off). You can set a unique pattern per contact, so you can know whether or not it’s your boss or your girlfriend calling even if your phone is on silent.

2. iPhone 4 LED Flash on Alert

The iPhone 4 has a super bright LED on the back that it uses for camera flash but not a lot else. In iOS 5 you can set the LED to blink a couple of times when a new alert comes in. This setting is also located in General -> Accessibility, and it works exactly as advertised. When a new notification comes in, your phone’s LED will blink on, off, on, off, and do it brightly. This is a great feature for the hearing impaired, and also great if you accidentally leave your phone on the other side of the room on silent. You’ll definitely know that you get a notification when that LED starts flashing; it’s almost impossible to miss.

3. Text Shortcuts and Easier Dictionary Word Adding

In iOS 4 and earlier, adding words to the dictionary was a chore. Some apps added words when you typed them in, some didn’t, and in general people with autocorrect on were sending a lot of messages with “he’ll” instead of hell, “shit” instead of “shot,” and the list goes on.

iOS 5 finally has come up with a better solution. In the Keyboard Settings page there’s a place to enter “Text Shortcuts” which serve two purposes. First, you can finally add words to the dictionary by just typing them into the “Phrase” box and tapping Save–they will instantly become a part of your autocorrect vocabulary.  Secondly, you can use the feature to have your iPhone automatically expand a short chunk of text into a longer one. Type the long phrase (like Oh My God) into the “Phrase” box, and then whatever you’d like your shortcut to be in the “Shortcut” box (like OMG). I can see this being very useful for things like your email address, phone number, address, and anything that takes too long to type out but you end up having to type frequently.

4. Deleting Music Directly from your Device

With the addition of iCloud, you’ll be able to download new songs from the cloud and add them to your phone much easier than ever before. But what if your phone is full? What if you want to download a different album from the cloud to listen to but you don’t have space? Luckily, iOS 5 will let you delete tracks from your library inside the Music app. The process for deleting them is the same as an email, just swipe to the right over the track name, and a “Delete” button will appear. Tap it and the song is gone — easy as that.

5. See How Much Space Individual Apps Use

Back into the Settings app, in the “General” settings area there is a new option called “Usage.” Usage will allow you to see exactly how much space an individual app is taking up on your iOS 5 device. Want to see which games that you don’t play are taking up the most crucial space? Head over there and you’ll be able to sort your apps by how much space they are taking up , and delete accordingly. Anything an app stores is counted, not just the app itself, so you’ll be able to get a good overview of what is taking up how much space on your device.

Is Pandora One Worth It?

Pandora quickly became one of the biggest names in internet radio after introducing a virtual genetic mapping of music in order to better determine what kind of music the listener might enjoy based on their likes and dislikes. In a sense, it took the intuition of a DJ and the experience of an automatic playlist and combined them to create something new. After years of developing and fine tuning their service, it became time to monetize. Ads were added to the stream and a new subscription music service was born in Pandora One.

With a standard free Pandora account, you have the ability to listen to a good quality stream of music for 40 hours a month including occasional commercial break-ins. You have the ability to skip past a song you don’t care for a total of 12 times per day, and you have to interact with the service often to indicate you’re still listening.

Pandora One offers unlimited playback on a higher 192K bit stream without commercial interruptions, unlimited skips, and an extended 5 hours of playback without needing to interact with the service at all. Pandora One users also get access to their Adobe Air desktop app which gives users the option to listen to music without having to open a browser.

The higher quality stream does make a difference in the overall experience as songs come out sounding a bit crisper and better tuned. Instruments sound more accurately represented, especially on higher quality headphones and speakers. While it’s still heavily compressed audio, the difference is clearly noticeable.

Commercial interruptions on the free stream are few, and serve no other purpose than to help compensate Pandora for the bandwidth and other overhead they encounter providing a free service. Occasionally, the ad includes a plug for their Pandora One service. Unless you really hate advertising, this really isn’t the strongest case for upgrading to a paid subscription.

Skipping unwanted tracks without limitations may be the strongest case for upgrading among picky users. Because you don’t have any direct control over what will be played next, being able to vote down and skip past something you don’t like, or just aren’t in the mood for at that time, is a great feature.

The Pandora One desktop app is sleek, simple, and easy to use. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the app to work with keyboard media controls on either Windows 7 or Mac OS X. The app sips on system resources and doesn’t take up much space at all, allowing you to hide it when minimized and keep it in the system tray. There are some great third-party gadgets out there that work with Pandora, but none really have the full feature set the Pandora One app provides.

Overall, whether or not this service is worth the yearly subscription fee depends on how much you use the service and how important audio quality is to you. Heavy users that need more than 40 hours of music per month will likely get the most out of the upgrade. If you are a light listener and you find the free service’s quality and commercials bearable, there really isn’t much of a reason to upgrade at all.

How To Stream Your Entire Music Library To Your iOS Device

With the new iOS 4.3, the iPod app on iPad and iPhone supports music streaming via Home Sharing. But what if you’re away from home? What’s the best way to stream your music library to your phone or iPad over the internet and not just your local network? Amazon Cloud Sync seems like a good option, but they don’t have an iOS app (yet). Instead, we’re going to use Subsonic, which turns your home computer into a music server that you can access anywhere you have a web connection.

  • Download and install Subsonic for your computer (Windows | Mac). The computer you install Subsonic on should be the computer that has all your music on it, and it should also be relatively stationary. This computer will need to be on and connected to the internet in order to use Subsonic.
  • Configure Subsonic. There’s a great guide for total Subsonic configuration if you have any trouble, but the process is pretty simple.
    1. Launch the Subsonic Configuration app and set the port you wish to use Subsonic on. Make sure this port is forwarded properly to your computer’s IP address.
    2. Start the Subsonic server, then visit http://localhost:port (whichever you selected) in your browser. Enter admin/admin in the username and password field.
    3. Follow the setup wizard, which includes changing your password and setting up music folders.
  • Once you’ve set up Subsonic, you’ll be able to access it from any browser by going to (or whatever port you selected during setup). If you don’t like having to remember your IP address every time, Subsonic provides subdomains for people who donate. If you like Subsonic and think you’ll use it a lot, consider donating $10. You’ll them be able to go to your Subsonic install simply by visiting
  • Next, we’ll set up iSub. iSub is an inexpensive iOS app that will connect to Subsonic servers and stream your music over WiFi or 3G. It has unique interfaces for iPhone and iPad, and even caches songs so if you’re listening to a playlist or album you can get uninterrupted playback in the event you lose service for a few minutes. Both iPhone and iPad versions are included in the $4.99 price tag. Here’s how to set it up:
    1. Tap “Show Settings” on the iSub home screen
    2. Tap Edit, and then + to add a new server
    3. Tap Subsonic to set up a new Subsonic server
    4. Enter your server address (including the port), and the username and password you set up on the website.
    5. Tap Save and iSub will connect.
    6. Once the server has been added, you won’t need to do this process again, simply launch Subsonic and start listening to music!

    Amazon Appstore Launches For Android

    In a release today from Amazon, they have launched the Android Appstore, which is the equivalent to the Apple iTunes App Store.

    Amazon, which has deep roots in e-commerce, is looking to expand into the mobile marketplace. It is looking to sell apps better than Google can do on its own platform, which it could possibly do. We are all well aware of Google’s Android Marketplace and the reputation it has. Amazon’s Appstore has a great potential to outsell Google and take on Apple in the near future.

    Starting tonight, Amazon Appstore will be accessible at Android device owners will be able to download the mobile version of the store to their device. With the store supporting hundreds of mobile providers and a variety of different devices, it will spread like wildfire very quickly.

    We got a hint of this back in January when Amazon began to recruit a high amount of developers and persuade them to work on this project. With its initial launch, the Appstore will be loaded with 3,800 applications for users to download.

    Amazon seems to be just dipping its feet into a slew of different content like music and e-books. This could potentially hurt its efforts due to the company having its attention split amongst other projects and aspects. However, the company seems to be confident of a huge payout at the end.

    Currently Amazon cannot compete with the big boys just yet with Android Market and Apple iTunes spanning over 150,000 and 350,000 applications in their libraries. Amazon’s is taking aim at quality over quantity and launching with its biggest app being Angry Birds outfitted for the movie Rio.

    Aaron Rubenson, leader of the Amazon Mobile Services division, said:

    “The developer response has been really strong. We’ll be launching with a broad range of paid and free and the customers will find lots of best selling titles from Doodle Jump to Call of Duty to Zagat and Tweetcaster. The list goes on and it’s just day one. We are adding more every single day.”

    All users and developers of mobile applications are having a common problem when publishing their apps, getting their apps discovered, and monetizing what makes their apps great. Amazon has promised that it will do four things to help with this problem:

    • Amazon will offer one free app a day to help with promotion.
    • Amazon will offer a feature called Test Drive, which allows a customer to try before they buy. Users will be able to open and use the app from within their computer browser. It will last for about 30 minutes before they are prompted to buy it.
    • Amazon will drive recommendations based on a user’s purchase history.
    • Amazon is also enabling one-click purchasing for anyone with a credit card on file.

    Amazon is also proposing to do some unheard of things to drive app downloads:

    For instance, if the developer recommends the app be sold at $1, and Amazon agrees, they’ll make 70 percent, or 70 cents on each download. If Amazon decides to make it free for a day, the developer will make 20 percent off their original recommendation of $1, or 20 cents. The developer will always make whichever is greater.

    Amazon will mostly be relying on traffic and downloads by its own referrals to get the service going. After it has been out for a while, it plans to partner with carriers and device makers to get the Appsore natively on the device. Amazon said its first third-party partnership will be with Cellular South, which will make the Appstore available to its customers through preloads and other methods.

    [Amazon Press Release]

    iTunes Offering Free SXSW Music Sampler

    Every year, the streets of Austin, TX are filled with music lovers, tech enthusiasts, and movie lovers for one of the largest multimedia festivals in the country, South by Southwest (SXSW). Of the three major areas of the giant event, music is the biggest draw. During the week, roughly 75 concerts take place at any given time between dawn and 2am.

    Below is a list of dates for SXSW 2011:

    SXSWeek 2011 March 11-20
    Interactive March 11-15
    Film March 11-19
    Music March 15-20

    For a limited time, iTunes is offering a free music sampler featuring bands that will be performing during SXSW in 2011. This sampler includes singles from artists and bands from a wide variety of genres.

    Source: iTunes

    Sir Mix-a-Lot: A Geek Who Loves Carz

    Anthony Ray – better known as Sir Mix-a-Lot to most of you – is back in the music game in a very big way. His new video, Carz, debuted just the other day and already has about a kajillion views and downloads. The video itself is put together very well, and you cannot help but enjoy the eye candy (I’m talking about the cars!) found within.

    I was invited to the launch party for this new debut. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend due to a prior commitment. I’m told that I missed one hell of a party. He apparently brought me some honeys. I’m still wondering why it is that the Sir would bring honey to a music launch party, but hey! Who am I to argue? Perhaps he wanted to have a little with his toast.

    By now, you’re likely wondering why in the hell I am talking about a rap star on my tech blog, and why he would have invited yours truly to the party in the first place. It’s okay, I still wonder myself at times why I get invited to places that are out in public.

    Anthony Ray isn’t just another musical genius – he’s one of us. His love of technology spans even longer than his music career. Many years ago, he started building amps and boards for others. This is where his original music passion stems from and what brought him to where he is now.
    Show a fellow geek a little love this holiday season. Watch the video, and check out the single. Let us know what you think!

    How Do I Disable AutoPlay In Windows 7?

    There should be an image here!Personally, I find AutoPlay a bit annoying. When I insert a CD, Windows opens a window with a bunch of information that I really don’t care about. My preference is to insert a CD and navigate to what I’m looking for.

    AutoPlay is simple to disable. The only catch is that it requires you to make a change to the Windows Registry, as described below.

    1. Open the Registry Editor.
    2. Navigate to the following registry key: HKLM Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Policies Explorer.
    3. Create a new DWORD value and name it NoDriveTypeAutoRun.
    4. Set the value to 000000FF.

    You can always re-enable AutoPlay by deleting the DWORD value you created in step 3.

    [Photo above by konradfoerstner / CC BY-ND 2.0]

    [awsbullet:Emiliana Torrini]

    Subscription Music Service Coming To Apple?

    There should be an image here!Still buying music per song or as a collective album? If you’re buying through iTunes or Amazon, this is likely something you’ve simply come to accept as reality. Well that or rip your own CDs. Now it seems that Apple is changing its tune and opting to take another look at subscription music.

    Now there is really no question that seeing Apple embrace subscription music would do wonders for music sales, along with adding some sales for Apple as well. The real question is whether or not Apple is going to bother with this or not.

    Personally, I am not entirely sure if I would be jumping up for joy for Apple based subscription music. If it’s available on the same iPhone/iPod devices, works as well as purchased music AND offers comparable quality, I might be interested.


    There should be an image here!As you know, there are tons of bloggers who passionately blog about a variety of topics on a regular basis. One of the most dedicated groups of bloggers is the one that focuses on music. Back in the day, you might have received new music suggestions from your friends, but these days, you just have to check out some music blogs to find some new music. If you’re really into music, then you may already have a collection of music blogs that you visit on a regular basis, but Shuffler connects you with a larger selection of music blogs and music and has built an entire listening experience around what’s featured.

    You can think of Shuffler as a new breed of Internet radio. Instead of being forced to visit individual blogs and listen to what they’re featuring, you can just select a genre that you like and let Shuffler guide you through the latest posts and music from the collection of blogs that they track. You’re sure to find music that you normally wouldn’t find, and if you really love music, this may be your new online home.

    How Do I Disable AutoPlay In Windows 7?

    There should be an image here!Personally, I find AutoPlay a bit annoying. When I insert a CD, Windows opens a window with a bunch of information that I really don’t care about. My preference is to insert a CD and navigate to what I’m looking for.

    AutoPlay is simple to disable. The only catch is that it requires you to make a change to the Windows Registry, as described below.

    1. Open the Registry Editor.
    2. Navigate to the following registry key: HKLM Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Policies Explorer.
    3. Create a new DWORD value and name it NoDriveTypeAutoRun.
    4. Set the value to 000000FF.

    You can always re-enable AutoPlay by deleting the DWORD value you created in step 3.

    [Photo above by konradfoerstner / CC BY-ND 2.0]

    Enable Mapping To C$ In Windows 7

    There should be an image here!People who have been using Windows for several years, likely know about the administrator share (C$) building into Windows file sharing. In pre-Vista versions of Windows, administrators could connect to the hidden share. However, by default, you can’t use the share in Windows Vista and Windows 7 because of User Account Control (UAC). UAC doesn’t permit elevation across a network with a local user account.

    If you want to use the hidden administrator share in Windows, you can use the following registry tweak. Keep in mind though that you computer not be as secure.

    1. Open the Registry Editor.
    2. Navigate to the following Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Policies System. If the key does not exist, you will need to create it.
    3. Create a new DWORD value named LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy. Set the value to 1.
    4. Close the Registry Editor.

    You can now map to and use the hidden administrator share (C$).

    [Photo above by Pete Reed / CC BY-ND 2.0]


    There should be an image here!Most of us enjoy good movies, books, and music, but keeping up with everything out there that’s old and new is a full-time job. Unfortunately, each one of us only has a certain amount of time that we can devote to entertainment, so it makes sense that we would want to select items that are going to be the most enjoyable for us individually. One of the best ways to find entertainment that you’ll probably like is to consider past choices that you viewed favorably and find similar options. It also helps to get recommendations from your friends and other people that may have the same preferences as you. Because of this, GetGlue is a great tool that you can use to stay entertained.

    When you select the movies, books, and music that you like, GetGlue can get a good feeling for what you enjoy and will offer personalized recommendations that fit your interests. The service stays on top of the latest releases for you so that you’ll know what you should pay attention to and what you might want to skip. Since GetGlue is social, it’s very easy to keep track of what others are interacting with and what they think, which will help you to make new discoveries.

    Lady Gaga Gets It – Downloading Her Music Is OK With Her, Even If Unauthorized

    Lady Gaga gets it and says that downloading her music is good for her career. She even thinks that unauthorized downloads work, as well. Here is a musician who gets it. She understands that the money is in touring and sponsorship, not how much money is lost by downloads of her music. Which makes one wonder: when is the RIAA going to adjust its thinking?

    A recent article also states:

    Lady Gaga admits she’s fine with people downloading her music in unauthorized forms because she makes it up in touring revenue:

    She explains she doesn’t mind about people downloading her music for free, “because you know how much you can earn off touring, right? Big artists can make anywhere from $40 million [£28 million] for one cycle of two years’ touring. Giant artists make upwards of $100 million. Make music — then tour. It’s just the way it is today.” Similarly, she knocks bands that don’t really try to work hard to please the fans, and who just expect them to automatically buy each album:

    “I hate big acts that just throw an album out against the wall, like ‘BUY IT! F*** YOU!’ It’s mean to fans. You should go out and tour it to your fans in India, Japan, the UK. I don’t believe in how the music industry is today. I believe in how it was in 1982.”

    Like Mariah Carey, it looks like Lady Gaga has realized that this concept of connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy works at the superstar level just as much as it does down at the indie artist level. The specifics of implementing a business model around the concept are very, very different — but the core concept remains the same. Treat your fans right, learn to leverage what’s infinite to make something scarce more valuable, and then sell the scarcity.

    I believe that what Lady Gaga is doing is eventually going to be the norm of the future. The Internet has changed the way we look at the world and the people who adjust to this will be the winners. Once the old fogies die off and people get their heads out of their butts trying to use any old business model from the horse and buggy days, the sooner we can all move on.

    Comments welcome.


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